Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Morocco In the News: May 25 - 31

Oldest Peace Corps volunteer returns home to Sebastian after 27 months in Morocco
By Ashley Blanchard May 27, 2011
SEBASTIAN — Muriel Johnston remembers when Kennedy inaugurated the Peace Corps program 50 years ago.
At the time, she was at-home with several young children. Although she considered it a wonderful program, it was something she thought she would never do.
But when she was 84 years old, she added it to her bucket list.
In the fall of 2008 one of her daughters suggested she apply to the Peace Corps. Little did she know that her daughter Eileen had already researched the application process and found there was a special program for candidates older than age 50.The average age in the Peace Corps is 27, and only 5 percent of the volunteers are older than age 50."I never thought in my wildest dreams that they would accept me because of my age," said Johnson. "I thought it was just for college graduates."
The Sebastian resident and mother to six returned home last month from a two-year assignment in Morocco. At age 86, she is the oldest volunteer to have served in the Peace Corps.
The application process was complicated and grueling. A complete physical was required. In October 2008, Johnston got the call to go to Morocco in February 2009. Her stint would be 27 months, with a three-month training period and a two-year placement.
People would ask her why she wanted to do this at her age.
"I wanted to accept the challenge and know that I could do something worthwhile no matter how small," she said.
Johnston spent three months learning the land while staying with a host family. It eventually became her permanent assignment, and she got her own place There.
By American standards, Johnston was roughing it.
Although she had electricity and tap water in the kitchen and water room, her daily routine was primitive. She took bucket baths by heating a pot of water and pouring it into a bucket.
The public bath was a social outing for the locals. Johnston would pay the equivalent of 13 cents to wash her hair there. There was no heat and central air in her home, despite temperatures ranging from 48 to 108 degrees.
Tanant, Morocco is very compact with the center of town designated by a taxi stand and bus stop. There is a post office, medical clinic and shops, but in just two blocks there's country with livestock. Johnston is a vegetarian, so she enjoyed the local produce for about $1.30 a week. Since there were no movies in town and she did not own a television, she read and cross stitched in her free time.
"I was part of group whose purpose was to help raise the population's hygiene standards. Many of the residents are third or fourth generation of nomads — a gypsy lifestyle — so brushing teeth and washing hands were foreign to them," said Johnston.
Some of her time was spent visiting classrooms and educating children on oral hygiene, giving out toothbrushes and toothpastes. To some, she was affectionately called the Toothbrush Lady.
Originally, Johnston thought she would work with a local doctor who had a Peace Corps volunteer 10 years ago. Unfortunately, a month after she arrived he was transferred to another town.
A new doctor, a recent graduate, had never heard of the Peace Corps and although he wanted to improve his English, he wasn't prepared to use her talents.
She engaged with a local school to promote global hand washing day, Oct. 15. From there, she was able to facilitate much needed repair work to the lunchroom, which had no water, electricity or nearby bathrooms.
Her proudest accomplishment was the establishment of a school library with the school's headmaster.
"Through the efforts of a Vero Beach book club called The Novelties I was able to purchase books in French and Arabic for over 500 students in grades first through eighth," said Johnston.Since Johnston's official retirement age of 62, she has traveled to more than 30 countries. In reflecting on her most recent trip and experience, she encourages others to volunteer.
"Once the mystery is gone you are no longer afraid," she said. "I found that the people of Morocco want the same things that we want, better lives for their kids and to improve their lifestyle each day."
Johnston said she is in the "recovery stage," having been out of the country for 27 months. She is looking forward to meeting her great grandchild that was born on May 3rd in California and to seeing family at a mini-reunion in June.
For any volunteer the greatest reward is to have mattered.
"I really felt like I made a difference there," said Johnston.
Artisans of Al-Maghrib
Wander through the colorful souqs of a Moroccan artisan community. Hear how Peace Corps Volunteer Rob Revere advised artists and craft cooperatives on developing their businesses and accomplishing their goals.
USAID provides potable water to Moroccan villages. By Naoufel Cherkaoui 2011-05-26
A new aid programme from the US government looks to help Moroccan charities create sustainable economic development in rural areas.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday (May 24th) launched a grant programme for Moroccan and American NGOs in Rabat. The plan aims to help charity organisations foster sustainable development in rural areas.
"I'm very excited today, considering that such initiatives are a great way to strengthen the partnership between the United States and Morocco," US Ambassador to Morocco Samuel Kaplan told Magharebia. The "Development Grants Program" covers the period between 2011 and 2014.
The ambassador added, "On the one hand, the US offers funding and on the other, inhabitants of those areas demonstrate a spirit of true leadership. The co-operation between USAID, the US Peace Corps and the Moroccan government helps a lot in that direction. It must be emphasised that with time, the output of that work has made it to the local level under the supervision of NGOs that care about population groups."
"USAID has launched a request for proposals to support projects across the world. Four associations have been accepted in Morocco," explained Said Mahzoun, head of the Aghbalou Association for Development and the Preservation of the Environment.
Mahzoun said American assistance would "help establish very important programmes in the area of Midelt".
"We will renovate some of the old facilities concerned with water purification, and will extend the network of water purification," the NGO official said. "We will also erect plants to clean waste water before passing it to the course of the river."
The head of the charity association in Midelt told Magharebia that their objective was to "reduce the phenomenon of girls dropping out of school in villages, as they are typically charged with searching for drinking water for their families. Therefore, by providing families with potable water, we will mitigate that problem on the one hand, and also provide those communities with healthy water to dodge the risks of drinking untreated water."
For his part, John Groarke, the Director of USAID in Morocco, said, "Last September, during a speech at the United Nations, President Barack Obama announced the new US global development. According to that policy, countries such as Morocco are in charge of their own development, which programmes such as the one we launched today, allows for and whereby those countries determine their priorities in that direction. As we know, the field of water purification is very important in development."
Abdul Aziz Al-Allawi, president of the Tislit Association for Development in Al Haouz province, told Magharebia that his group's project was "the first of its kind across the region in the area of water purification and reusing it in agriculture, so that 1,200 people would benefit from it. The assistance we received from USAID totals 12 million dirhams, while the contribution our association and its partners offered was 3 million dirhams."
"The overall goal of our project is to improve the living conditions of villagers through the constant purification of used water, by working to preserve the environment through protecting ground water from pollution, particularly if we knew that sanitation in rural areas is traditionally handled, while people use wells as a source of drinking water. Our goals also include trying to minimise the dangers resulting from the pollution which affects the digestive system especially in children," Al-Allawi added.
Viera High teacher reflects on Morocco exchange visit. May. 22, 2011 
Viera High School English teacher Bill Ringer traveled to Morocco to visit a high school there as part of an international exchange program.
Ringer was one of 110 educators from across the nation selected for the exchange program, run by the State Department.
During Ringer's two-week stay, he visited Missour Mixed High He discussed teaching practices with the school's leaders and other educators.
FLORIDA TODAY caught up with Ringer to ask about his visit.
QUESTION: How did your exchange trip to Morocco come about?
RINGER: I love to learn and travel -- so I research and seek out opportunities where I can combine the two. I found this program a few years ago, applied, and was awarded this grant-funded opportunity.
Q: How does the Morocco high school system compare to the U.S.?
RINGER: Similarities of their system to ours are that students have to pass national exams to graduate so they must take certain courses (there are no electives, so students can only take the courses that are tested), and teachers there are very dedicated to helping students succeed.
Most subjects are the same as here (math, science, English), except that students there also study French, Arabic, and philosophy (all are tested for graduation).
Q: What are some differences?
RINGER: Nearly all of their students are eager and willing to learn; in fact, student enthusiasm for learning was energizing after 16 years of teaching here and trying my best to teach and "entertain" to keep students involved.
When I asked students what they liked best about their school, every single student said, "Our teachers."
Also, their system is less organized; honestly, the daily schedule, to me, was quite confusing. Some classes met just two times a week, others more often, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and never in the same classroom.
Q: What did you learn from the experience that you will incorporate into your classroom?
RINGER: I learned that language and learning and intellectual curiosity are universal and that communication is what we, as humans, do best. I
Q: Was this a one-time visit or will you be going to Morocco on a regular basis?
RINGER: It is a one-time visit, although my host teacher is currently seeking "sister-school" grant funding to perhaps visit Brevard.
Morocco holds youth meetings. By Naoufel Cherkaoui 2011-05-25
As part of its youth empowerment programme, the Moroccan government brought together scores of young people to listen to their demands and act on them.
Thousands of youths gathered in the coastal town of Bouznika May 23rd-24th to partake in the first series of national debates aimed at adopting a strategy for Morocco's rising generation.
"The government took responsibility and had a discussion with young people who make up more than 35% of the society," Youth and Sports Minister Moncef Belkhayat said.
"We initiated today a work programme by signing ten significant agreements with some ministries," he added.
According to Belkhayat, the accords envision a mechanism for ensuring social security for youths between ages 18-25. They also provide for creating health centres to tackle youths' problems such as drug addiction and constructing sports stadiums. Furthermore, it was agreed to double the
According to General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) chief Mohamed Hourani, the debate was marked by "common optimism shared by youths and the government".
"The signed agreements have credibility," he added. "The concerned parties must work on bringing these projects to fruition."
"During the debate, we have seen strong expectations of young people, especially with regards to jobs," Employment Minister Jamal Rhmani told Magharebia. "Their proportion of the labour force in 2016 will reach 65%."
Moroccan youths are "aware that the employment market is developing, which requires good education," he added.
Morocco's Youth Want Their Own Form of Change 
By Helene Zuber in Rabat
Young people across Morocco are demanding change and more democratic freedoms. King Mohammed VI has allowed for reform of the country's constitution, but a bomb attack last month in Marrakech which left 17 dead threatens progress.
Najib Chaouki and his friends arranged over Facebook to meet near Témara, on the outskirts of the Moroccan capital Rabat. The plan was to meet on Sunday, May 15, for a picnic in front of the country's domestic intelligence service headquarters. They wanted to protest the police state in their country.
Témara is a place the government doesn't like to talk about. This is where the CIA and the British MI5 are believed to have brought and brutally tortured suspected terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Chaouki, 32, a blogger from Rabat, and his fellow protesters, who mobilize tens of thousands of demonstrators each month, were proud of their plan. "We wanted to inform the public about the intelligence service's illegal tactics," the young man with the long, dark curls explains.
They didn't get that far. Special police units were already waiting for the young people in the early morning. Chaouki was in a supermarket when plainclothes policemen outside began beating the new arrivals with clubs. The officers pursued about 100 young women and men for two hours, even chasing them onto the rooftops of surrounding buildings. Ten of the protesters ended up in the hospital with injuries.
King Mohammed VI's Reforms
The failed picnic shows that three months after young Moroccans first called for demonstrations on Feb. 20, expanding the Arab pro-democracy movement to their country, the freedom to publicly express opinions is still under threat there.
The events on May 15 also represented a serious setback along the path to a liberal society, since King Mohammed VI promised in early March to establish a more democratic system and a state governed by the rule of law. The king appointed a national council for human rights and created a commission to develop a new constitution. He declared his willingness to take the steps he considered necessary for Morocco to achieve peacefully what Tunisia and Egypt were only able to attain by deposing those in power.
But all that was before two bombs, apparently remotely detonated, exploded in the famous tourist café Argana at the well-known Djemaa el-Fna square in the heart of Marrakech on April 28, killing 17 people. Police have since arrested seven suspects -- al-Qaida sympathizers, according to information from the Moroccan interior ministry.
But just as with the suicide attacks in Casablanca eight years ago, here, too, rumors began circulating immediately that the country's intelligence service had a hand in the matter. The rumors suggest that these hardliners, intent on holding onto their own power, weren't pleased when the king released about 100 prisoners in mid-April, including several who had been convicted as terrorists.
A Movement Under Threat
Since then, the pro-democracy movement seems to be under threat again, but young Moroccans won't let themselves be driven back off the streets that easily. "They've overcome the wall of fear," says Fahd Iraqi, editor-in-chief of the critical political magazine Tel Quel, which supports the young demonstrators' demands.
"We're pacifists," states Chaouki, who completed high school in Germany and studied there. Young Moroccans' largest complaint is not with the monarchy. Unlike their contemporaries in neighboring countries, they aren't calling for the overthrow of their ruler. Mohammed VI can remain head of state as far as they're concerned -- he just should not continue to govern as well.
This is the unusual aspect of the Moroccan Spring: The movement doesn't aim to overthrow a leader, and yet it is revolutionary. The king sees himself as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, making him both the highest leader of believers and a secular ruler.
This absolute power, which the country's rebellious youth would like to see curtailed, has nonetheless allowed the king to implement overdue reforms -- going against resistance from Morocco's rigid political system and Islamists when necessary. He pushed through a family law reform that gave women equal rights, and he pursued reconciliation with the country's left-wing opposition, long brutally repressed under his father, Hassan II.
Making Change From Within
Now Mohammed VI has announced a revision to the constitution: In the future, the king will no longer be able to appoint whomever he likes as head of the government. Instead, the leader will come from the party that wins in free elections. The king also wants to further the separation of powers and make the judiciary independent. "Be creative" was the monarch's recommendation to the members of a new constitutional commission, which he filled with representatives from civil society, academia and human rights groups.
The battle against corruption also has the king's blessing. Revelations concerning the political class's habit of lining its own pockets, which were contained in US embassy cables released by the Internet platform WikiLeaks, provoked a great deal of resentment among Moroccans, prompting young protesters to demand the most brazen of these opportunists be removed from positions close to the monarch. They achieved one success when the king appointed Abdesselam Aboudrar, founder of the Moroccan branch of Transparency International, to be the president of a government agency that will take action against corruption.
In the 1970s, Aboudrar attempted to overthrow the monarchy together with other left-wing activists, then survived five years in a secret prison in the basement of a police station in Casablanca. Now the engineer and financial expert believes he can accelerate reforms by working together with the king.
Morocco's problem isn't so much the monarch's extensive power, says this one-time enemy of the state, but the political parties themselves. The same members of the "Makhzen," the ruling elite, keep handing out posts to members of the government's 20 most important groups, and they've lost voters' trust. In the country's 2007 parliamentary elections, 63 percent of those eligible to vote did not do so.
Part 2: 'The Time for Self-Censorship Is Over'
Businessman Omar Balafrej, 37, a former member of Morocco's socialist party, says he's pleased that the king's changes to the constitution have given the parties a share of responsibility. It's high time, he says, for a young generation of politicians to show "courage to make far-reaching change."
What Balafrej likes about the movement of Feb. 20 is that young people are getting involved in politics. "The time for self-censorship is over," he says. "Now we can criticize everything." He's not worried about the future: "If the constitutional reform doesn't go far enough for us, we can reject it."
For the time being, these unlikely partners -- the young protesters and the king who likes to style himself a reformer from above -- rely on one another. They're the only agents of change among the rigid political parties.
And unlike in other Arab countries, Morocco's rebels must work on the assumption that the majority of the country's 31 million inhabitants are very much content with a patriarchal king watching over the country. More than 75 percent of the population is under 35 years old, making them members of the "M6" generation who have reached adulthood during Mohammed VI's reign.
Talking to Young People Through Radio
This generation's attitude towards life is particularly familiar to the team that has spent the last five years operating Moroccan young people's favorite radio station, Hit Radio. One million listeners tune in every day to Hit Radio's programs, produced by a small crew of young men and women in Rabat's hip neighborhood of Agdal.
Station founder Younès Boumehdi, 40, says he was the first to give young people in the Arab world the opportunity to speak openly on the radio about topics important to them. In particular, his radio station is known for rap performed in Darija, the powerful everyday language of the people, and Bouhmedi believes these performances anticipated the young rebels' complaints and demands.
A marketing specialist who earned his degree in Paris, Bouhmedi knows that most of his listeners don't favor fighting in the streets. "We don't want chaos," they write on Facebook. Members of the M6 generation don't want to jeopardize the freedoms they've earned -- but they also want to see change continue.
Translated from the German by Ella Ornstein
Showdown in Morocco. Hisham al-Miraat  Thursday, May 26, 2011
The makhzen refers to an ancient institution in Morocco -- the extended power apparatus close to the Moroccan monarchy, made up of a network of power and privilege. It allows the King to act as an absolute monarch and the de facto head of the executive. Beneath the give and take of everyday politics, the makhzen has always been the ultimate guarantor of the status quo.   For three months, the pro-democracy youth movement, known as "February 20," has been advocating against that status quo. Protests have not been targeting the monarchy directly, but instead have been urging for reform that would yield a system in which the King reigns but does not rule.
What started as a small group on Facebook earlier this year, has since grown into a nationwide movement made up of a loose coalition of leftists, liberals and members of the conservative Islamist right. Inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings and powered by new media, the movement convinced hundreds of thousands to take to the streets. The demonstrations held week in, week out, were remarkably peaceful. In response, King Mohammed VI promised a package of constitutional reforms to be submitted to a referendum in June. But as protesters, unconvinced by the King's promise, vow to keep up pressure on the regime, authorities seem increasingly impatient and determined to break up protests violently, paving the way toward escalation and confrontation with the street. The middle class is joining the mass of demonstrators, moving the protests beyond the core of mobilized youth. Their target is the makhzen -- which has become a code word for the monarchy's abuses of power and monopoly over large sectors of the economy.
Protests are not new in Morocco. During the Cold War years, leftists who dared to stand up and denounce the regime's abuses of power saw the wrath of the makhzen befall them. Those who were lucky enough not to have disappeared suffered the worst abuses, or were thrown into secret prisons in the middle of the desert. But in the age of Internet and new information technologies, the regime knows well that its actions are closely watched and that the indiscriminate repression of the "Years of Lead" (a name commonly used in Morocco to refer to the dark era of repression under late King Hassan II) are virtually impossible to hide from the public eye. This partly explains the inconsistency of its handling of the tension in the street.
From the start, the protest movement indentified key areas where reform is much needed: poverty, corruption, injustice and the control of political and economic life by the monarch's close entourage and some privileged families accused of misuse of public funds. The regime's response was tempered and conciliatory at first. In an attempt to quell popular anger, King Mohammed VI gave a speech on March 9 in which he announced the appointment of a committee to revise the Moroccan Constitution, pledging to relinquish parts of his prerogatives, while setting the outlines of permissible change. The status of the monarchy was to remain untouched, while the King was to supervise the reform process.
The proposed reform plan did not convince everyone and many decided to continue their protests. Skeptical youth doubted that the process initiated by the King was compatible with fundamental popular demands, such as the drafting of a whole new constitution by an elected assembly. Protesters have also been calling for the dissolution of the parliament, the dismissal of the current government, the release of all political prisoners, the clear separation of powers and the trial of officials involved in cases of torture and corruption. Amid continuing street protests, the palace offered a series of reforms, including the release of 190 political prisoners, mainly Islamist and human rights activists.
But then on April 28 a terrorist bomb attack hit a popular restaurant in the heart of Marrakech, killing 17 people. The country was plunged into a state of shock. Beyond the unanimous condemnation, the timing of the attack raised many questions. The fear of a security clampdown and a freeze of liberties were the main concerns of pro-democracy advocates. Their fear is justified. The makhzenhas traditionally actively sought to nurture an image of stability -- an exception to the turmoil in the Arab world. That strategy has worked for a time for the regime: Morocco is routinely praised by western officials as an ally of the West in a rather hostile region. The country holds an advanced status with the European Union; it has signed a free trade agreement with the U.S.; it is actively cooperating with the Americans in their global "War on Terror," and it enjoys the status of a Major Non-NATO Ally. The specter of terrorism has long been a useful card for gaining external support.
Police violence in recent days has escalated. On May 15, peaceful demonstrators who wanted to protest in front of an alleged secret detention center in Temara (dubbed Guan-Temara by protesters) near the capital Rabat faced repression. A week later, anti-riot police systematically and violently disrupted peaceful gatherings in public squares. This may be the sign that the regime is shifting its attitude toward the street and taking a much more hardline stance. As with other Arab regimes, the makhzen faces a dilemma: if it clamps down hard on peaceful protesters, it risks loosing its reputation as a model of democratic reform in a region often perceived in the West as averse to the liberal ideals of democracy. If it loosens up, then it will have to face the challenge to its own existence posed by a determined and organized street.
The "February 20" youth movement is vowing to keep up street pressure, rejecting the King's offer of token reform. If the regime insists on denying the people their rights of assembly and free expression, then the country will be heading toward the unknown. Against the backdrop of the Arab revolutions, change looks inevitable. It is still in the power of the monarchy to ensure a peaceful transition and at the same time ensure its own survival. The more the makhzen drags its feet, the more it runs the risk of undermining the stability of the country and, at the end of the day, its own existence.
Hisham al-Miraat is the co-founder of Talk Morocco and a contributing author for Global Voices
San Francisco / Morocco Board News---   To those of us who are concerned about the evolution of political development in the last 60 years in the developing world, and the current political changes taking place in North Africa and the Middle East, one important question is this:  Can we modernize without losing the best of our traditions?  I will try to shed some light on what the social sciences have been defining as political and economic development and modernization for us to understand the implications of where we are heading on this path to “modernization.”
Developed countries in the West assume that the development that they have experienced can be and should be emulated by developing countries.  But what they omit in this invitation is the fact that their political development was based on economic development, which in turn was based on slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism.  Countries that are now seeking development and its benefits have experienced the negative impact of these three economic systems.  Some will argue that we shouldn’t dwell on the past, but as William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.”

Today in the developing world several dynamics are taking place.  These dynamics are assumed to be factors of change and political development in the Western mode, which is welcomed by the social sciences.  Let’s see why.  Capitalism as an economic system imposes structures which undermine the traditional sector, representing the masses, for the sake of upholding the modern sector, representing “modern man.”  This modern-traditional dichotomy viewed from the perspective of development is the backbone of the “continuum theory” –one of the dominant schools of thought in the Western social sciences.  According to the continuum theory, development proceeds in a continuous, linear progression from “traditional” to “modern”.  The basic tool of inquiry is the accumulation of data applied toward a state of being “developed” which is projected as some universal, pre-determined state.

The continuum theory characterizes developed and underdeveloped countries as “traditional” or “modern” and defines “development” as the abandonment of one set of characteristics in favor of the other.  Social scientists, such as Max Weber and Talcott Parsons, look at pairs of pattern variables to analyze social action or social systems.  These variables include achievement  and ascription, specificity and diffuseness, universalism and particularity, effective-neutrality and affectivity, and self-orientation and collective-orientation.  According to this model, the developed country would be achievement-oriented, and the individual or system within it  would focus attention on achieved aspects of  a person rather than his or her ascribed qualities, i.e., sex, status, etc. Roles in the developed society would be, according to the model, functionally specific rather than diffuse, characterized by the specific obligations of a contract rather than wider obligation of family loyalty. A developed society and the individual and system actions within it would be guided by universally accepted percepts rather than ones relating to a particular situation or person; interactions would be characterized by effective-neutrality and self-orientation rather than by emotion and a concern for the common good.

In addition to defining the characteristics of traditional and modern societies, social scientists, such as Walt Rostow, advance the theory that economic development is a transition through stages.  According to Rostow, “It is possible to identify all societies, in their economic dimensions, as lying within five categories: the traditional society, the precondition for take-off, the take-off, the drive to maturity, and the age of high-mass consumption.” According to Walt Rostow, underdeveloped countries today find themselves in a historical stage through which presently developed countries have already passed.

Within the assumptions of the continuum theory, according to Herman Kahn, the diffusion model asserts that “development occurs largely through the spread of certain cultural patterns and material benefits from developed to the underdeveloped areas; and that within each underdeveloped nation a similar diffusion occurs from the modern to the traditional sectors.”  He also states “that maintaining the present world economic, technological and political environment is the perfect way for “richer” nations to accelerate the rate of development in “poorer” nations.  The best “developer” is the transnational corporation, (that is, the corporation owned and controlled by one nation with access to many others).” According to Kahn, the transnational corporation is a good institutional builder.

This theory makes even more explicit the notion of the “dual society” that pervades in the social sciences in the West today and the assumption that development means assimilation of the “traditional” by the “modern”. The diffusion theory sums up development as the input of material goods (technology and capital) or cultural and social goods (values and institutions) through foreign aid and investment.

These approaches have their critics.  Thomas Balough criticizes the Kahn approach for its acceptance of international oligopoly and its belief that the price mechanism produces optimal resource allocation, even taking into account such things as social and environmental costs.  In his words it is “ludicrous to think of the transnational corporation as playing a positive role in economic or international development since its aim is to get as much as possible for as little as possible.”

Given the traditional-modern dichotomy and the goal of the continuum theory, which is stability, the structural-functional equilibrium model becomes the mechanism through which stability is assumed attainable. How is this stability achieved? According to Samuel Huntington, stability results from old, well-established, complex, coherent, and adaptable institutions which create power and expand their scope within and beyond their peripheries.

Social science’s mode of applying a structural-functional analysis typically involves a comparison of political institutions with “traditional” at one end of the spectrum and “modern” at the other, various “transitional” categorizations in between.

The study of comparative politics is assumed feasible when societies are viewed as political system.  Gabriel Almond defines political system as the system of interactions “which performs the function of integration and adaptation (both internally and vis-à-vis other societies) by means of the employment, or threat of employment, of more or less legitimate physical compulsion,”

Lucien Pye viewed the process of extending the nation-state system to all societies as a process in four stages:

(1.) The initial efforts to persuade traditional authorities to adhere to international standards,
(2.) Colonial administration and foreign rule,
(3.) Indirect assistance and foreign aid,
(4.) Extension of the nation-state system by creating internal political forces.

This brings us to the concept of political culture. Pye and Sidney Verba have defined political culture as “the system of empirical beliefs, experience, symbols, and values which defines the situation in which political action takes place. It encompasses both the political ideas and the operating norms of a polity.”

The Euro-American-centered political scientists define a developed political system as one which is structurally differentiated (i.e., where distinct structures perform increasingly specialized functions, analogous to the division of labor and role specialization which accompanied European urbanization, migration, and industrialization) and one in which participation in politics takes the form of interest groups aggregating and articulating interests through coalitions and political parties.

Thus we go from political development to political cultural development and both implicitly or explicitly equate development with movement toward “modernization” and “Westernization,” thus becoming ethnocentrically monopolized.
The question for the developing world is who are we, what are we, and where are we going?
Travel: Morocco
23 May 2011 By claire smith
It's a foggy night in Casablanca and a storm is rattling the windows of Rick's Cafe. Flashes of lightning illuminate the big ships in the harbour while on a screen in a corner Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart are wrangling over letters of transit.
Of course Rick's was a fictional place - and the 1942 film was not even made in Morocco - but here in modern-day Casablanca the most famous bar in the movies has been brought to life.

It's the creation of American retired diplomat Kathy Kriger - who dresses in a shirt and waistcoat and introduces herself to guests as "Madame Rick", who bought a run-down art deco mansion next to the docks in 2002 and set about reproducing the ambience of Bogart's gin joint. She bought original film posters to decorate the walls and created a cool white interior, dressed with palm trees and full of shadows cast by Moroccan lanterns
Desert dreaming in MoroccoMay 25, 2011  
IT was sitting on the sand dune, looking south over the endless sands of the Sahara, that I finally ‘got’ why people come to the desert.
From my sandy perch near Erg Chigaga, the largest dune in Morocco and only an hour from the border with Algeria, hundreds of smaller dunes stretched to the horizon. The silence was total.
The only sound that I could hear was the blood pumping in my ears and my breathing, a little heavy after my climb up the newly christened ‘Dune GB’.
This is why people come to the desert, I mused. This is why so many of the great religions talk about periods in the wilderness. So their followers can find themselves. The solitude. The silence. To look deeply into themselves. Simply, as Hamlet would put it, ‘To be’.
But then I paused from my revery, turned my baseball cap backwards, adjusted my straps and with an ungainly bunny hop, thundered uncontrolably down the side of Dune GB on a snowboard. Dinner at Camp was waiting and I wanted to be on time.
I was on the edge of the Sahara as the guest of two old friends Nick Garsten  and Diane Taylor of Desert Camp Morocco.
Both accomplished travellers, the couple had sold their hotel in Cape Town and were looking at setting up a riad in Marrakech as a new adventure.
All that changed when Diane met Mohamed  – whose nickname is Bobo – trekking in the Atlas Mountains.
Bobo told Diane about the dunes of Erg Chigaga and the backpacker camps in the area and Diane came up with her own unique concept: a luxury upmarket camp in the desert.
You will, of course, be familiar with the old travellers’ adage that ‘getting there is half the fun’.
Well with any trip that involves Morocco, getting there is all the fun.
To describe the adventures that befell photographer Kevin and myself on the first part of our journey would take an extra couple of articles.
The shortened tale involves avoiding a car crashing outside Algeciras, cancelled ferries in Tarifa, torrential rain, catching the last ferry to Ceuta, crossing the border into Morocco in scenes from a Terry Gilliam movie, a terrifying 90 minute cab ride from Ceuta to Tangier courtesy of the Maghreb’s answer to Fernando Alonso, rocking up at the Gare du Tanger to be told that the sleeping compartmet had been derailed, a 10-hour overnight train to Marrakech in a compartment with no door or heating.
Yes, and then there was the teenager next to me playing a mixture of Lady Gaga and French rap on her mobile. Oh dear.
It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that we were relieved to arrive in Marrakech, although even that wasn’t without its problems. Events were unfolding in Cairo and neighbouring Tunisia, and we had been warned to ‘look out for riots and general unrest in the city’. Hmmmm.
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